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Ronan's report

Sunday, 22nd March 2009

Springtime in the UK: season of burgeoning clichés. Sap is rising, lambs are gambolling and trout may well be rising somewhere. But not at Hanningfield, historically one of my favourite reservoirs but one of the last places you're ever likely to catch a trout on the surface. And this season, there's some doubt about whether I'll be catching them there at all. Here's the first of the season's reports. Or, as my friend Andrew put it in an email to me this week:

"Off the North bank, seine nets did very well, while Mr Daniel Dennett was helped to take 600 fragments and 73 whole fish using dynamite under the rearing cages."

It's hard to predict what the real effect of changes like this will be. Purists will argue that reservoirs are wholly artificial environments for trout in any case; and Hanningfield is big enough that it's easy enough to avoid the maggot-drowners. But a genie of some kind is out of its bottle, and it may not be easy to get it back again.

Meanwhile, further north: flyfishing's been banned on two-thirds of the bank at Foremark reservoir just in case passers-by are hooked on our backcasts, something that has apparently never happened in 40 years to date. This is how the anti-angling brigade will shut us down: with health and safety legislation, and inflammatory emotive language about the danger to our children. I'm no believer in the effectiveness of petitions, but there's one here just in case you are. UK flyfishing: book now, while stocks last.


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